“Ohhh!” Ofelia wakes up to the sound of groaning. Juanito was in bed crying in pain. Mama was patting a cold cloth on his forehead. “He’s burning up!”
“What’s wrong with him?” asks Ofelia scared.
“It seems that he has broken his hip.” Mama sighs.
“Will he be able to walk again?”
“We need to take him to the doctor, but the only doctor lives in Taos.” There was a long eerie silence. “We don’t have any money to pay the doctor anyway.” Mama’s voice was starting to shake, her lower lip quivering.
“Comm’on hita, lets make breakfast. and pray for your hermano.”
That day Mama stayed by Juanito’s side, trying to get him to eat and drink, but the pain would not settle. The fever would not break. Ofelia was in charge of prepping and cooking the family meals while Mama tended to her baby boy. While working Ofelia whispered prayers for God to heal her little brother.
Each day he seemed to get a little worse. Juanito was not recovering and Mama was exhausted. She stayed up as much as she could to tend to him.
That night Ofelia was praying extra hard, and lit extra candles of the Virgin. She prayed to the Mother of God that He would exchange her life for her brother’s. She begged and she pleaded. When she slowly walked to the bed side of Juanito she saw her Mama leaned over his body, crying. Papa had is hand on her back and his head bowed, tears dropping to the wooden floor. The moon light shone through the window and the candles that were lit on the alter enlarged the shadows of her parents.
Ofelia’s heart stopped, she felt small and the shadows on the wall seem to enclose around her. “No!” she whispered. She squinted trying to keep the tears from coming, to cry meant to accept the reality of her brother’s death. If she could keep from crying, maybe it would be a bad dream. Her throat could not hold it in anymore. The lump jumped out and she fell to her knees. The tears did come, and her brother was dead.